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August 20, 2007

Benfica sacks head coach after first match of the season

Filed under: Archived,Europe,Football (soccer),Lisbon,Portugal,Sports — admin @ 5:00 am

Benfica sacks head coach after first match of the season

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Lisbon, Portugal – Portugal’s most successful team, Benfica, have sacked their manager after the 1st match. They tied Leixões 1-1 in Matosinhos, Portugal. Santos becomes the 1st coach fired this season.

the club said in a statement on today ‘Benfica have reached agreement with Fernando Santos to end his contract.’ The contract was set for two years. Fernando Chalana, former Benfica player and a current member of the backroom staff, will be his temporary replacement.

Jose Antonio Camacho has been rumoured to return to the club. He coached the team to a 2nd place finish in 2004.



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July 23, 2007

Work begins on \”Lisbon Treaty\”

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Work begins on “Lisbon Treaty” – Wikinews, the free news source

Work begins on “Lisbon Treaty”

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Lisbon is to give its name to the latest EU treaty

European Union foreign ministers today opened an Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) beginning work on on a new treaty for the 27-member bloc. Portugal, the presiding country of the Union during the negotiations, presented its first draft of the 145 page document (with an extra 132 pages of protocols) to foreign ministers in a short ceremony opening the conference.

A mandate for the new Reform Treaty was agreed last month after drawn out European Council negotiations in Brussels. Under the German Presidency of the Union, leaders agreed to drop the proposed Constitution and its state-like elements, yet retain many of its institutional reforms: described by Angela Merkel (German Chancellor and then-Council President) in the terms “The fundamentals of the Constitution have been maintained in large part … We have renounced everything that makes people think of a state, like the flag and the national anthem.” This mandate is now going to be taken by the IGC, composed of national and European government officials, and converted into a legal text.

Negotiations are expected to go smoothly. Poland had originally intended to kick up a storm over the chosen voting system, as it stood to lose from the proposed QMV system and favoured keeping the old system or using an alternative. The negotiations concluded that the implementation of the new system would be delayed until 2014. Poland also claimed it had secured a Gentlemen’s agreement that it could veto decisions for a further two years, but this was denied by other members. Isolated, Poland relented and agreed to back official agreement, with a minister stating: “Our priority is not to block decisions – we’re interested in easier decision-making because we want the Union to function properly.” The Polish Prime Minister stated that despite some opposition in Poland, there is no threat to governments’ ability to ratify the document.

The IGC should conclude in Lisbon during October of this year and would shortly after be signed in the city; therefore, the city will give its name to the treaty. This will allow ratification throughout 2008 so it can come into force before the 2009 European elections. Most national ratification is expected to take place without referenda, to avoid a repeat of the “no” votes that halted the European Constitution.

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July 8, 2007

Poll of 100 million votes names new Seven Wonders of the World

Poll of 100 million votes names new Seven Wonders of the World

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Sunday, July 8, 2007

The Christ the Redeemer statue now is named one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

In 1999, Bernard Weber started the New7Wonders foundation, and eight years, 200 candidates and 100 million votes later, seven man-made structures now have something in common – they all hold the title of ‘Wonder’. Weber claims he started the foundation to ensure that “everybody can decide what the new seven wonders should be and not some government, not some individuals, not some institutions.”

Nominated structures had to be built or discovered before the year 2000, and out of the 200 nominations, only twenty-one were left by the early part of last year. Voting had been taking place for six months, but only recently did voting result in server crashes, causing the foundation to encourage text message voting.

The results were announced at a ceremony hosted by Hilary Swank, Ben Kingsley and Bollywood star Bipasha Basu in Lisbon, Portugal. Out of the twenty-one, the following seven were announced as the new ‘Wonders of the World’:

  • Great Wall of China, in northern China. It was created in the 5th century BC to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire. The Wall is the world’s longest human-made structure, stretching over 6,400 km (4,000 mi).
  • Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The giant statue of Jesus Christ is 38 m (105 ft) tall and weighs 700 tonnes. The statue is located at the peak of the 700 m (2296 ft) Corcovado mountain, overlooking the city of Rio.
  • Machu Picchu, above the Urubamba Valley, Peru. It is a city created by the Inca Empire, located on a mountain ridge. Machu Picchu was forgotten for centuries by the outside world, however not by the locals. It was brought to international attention by archaeologist Hiram Bingham in 1911.
  • Petra, in Jordan. It is famous for having many giant stone structures carved into the rock. The site was revealed to the Western world by the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812, but remained accessible only to Europeans until after World War I.
  • Chichen Itza, on the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. It is a large archaeological site originally built by the Maya civilization. Chichen Itza was a major regional center in the northern Maya lowlands. Archaeological data suggest that Chichen Itza’s collapse was violent.
  • Taj Mahal, in Agra, India. It is a white marble mausoleum generally considered the finest example of Mughal architecture. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan commissioned it for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, and it was constructed between 1632 and 1648.
  • Colosseum, in Rome, Italy. It is a giant amphitheatre located in the centre of the city, and was capable of seating around 50,000 spectators. It was constructed between 70 AD and 80 AD, and used for nearly 500 years for a variety of events.

Although the foundation had large amounts of public support, UNESCO, the United Nations cultural program, distanced themselves from the project, saying it had “no link whatsoever” to the project. UNESCO currently keeps tabs on 851 places in its ‘World Heritage Sites’ program.

Left out of the Seven are the Pyramids of Giza, to which a respected Egyptian antiquities expert replied that the pyramids are a “symbol of the genius of the ancient people.” The foundation announced that the pyramids would have “honorary status” with the seven. The pyramids were the only remaining of the original Seven Wonders.

Weber claims that now that the man-made wonders have been chosen he has a new task: choosing the seven natural wonders of the world. He says he will start his new project immediately.

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June 25, 2007

Election of new 7 wonders of the world: deadline approaching

Election of new 7 wonders of the world: deadline approaching

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Of the original seven wonders of the ancient Greeks, the Great Pyramid of Giza is the only one remaining. The other six on the list are:
– the Hanging Gardens of Babylon,
– the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus,
– the Statue of Zeus at Olympia,
– the Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus,
– the Colossus of Rhodes, and
– the Lighthouse of Alexandria.

The New Open World Foundation will announce the results of the New Seven Wonders of the World election on July 7, 2007 (or 07.07.07). The ballot itself will close on midnight the day before. The Foundation proposes a revision of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World, of which only the Great Pyramid of Giza still exist.

Among the 21 candidates left over after the previous election round ended on January 1, 2006, the Acropolis and the Maya archeological site of Chichen Itza were doing well in earlier rankings. A spokeswoman for the Foundation said earlier this month that the result is wide open.

The election ceremony will be held in Lisbon, Portugal. Hollywood actress Hilary Swank, British actor Sir Ben Kingsley and Bollywood actress Bipasha Basu have been announced as hosts, astronaut Neil Armstrong will be present, and performers will include Jennifer Lopez and Chaka Khan.

Countries promote their monuments

The finalist countries of New Seven Wonders.

Some in India fear however that the Taj Mahal might not make the A-list. In the Bihar town of Muzaffarpur, sex workers are asking people to cast their vote for the monument in Agra. “We are doing it in our own small way to promote the 17th century monument of love,” said prostitute Shahnaj Bano. Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan ordered the construction of the mausoleum when his favourite wife died. People of all walks of life have joined the campaign in India: for example, hundreds of lawyers in Rajkot collectively casted their vote to support the Taj in the world wonder poll.

India’s Tourism and Culture Minister, Ambika Soni, previously pitched in the campaign by personally voting for the Taj Mahal, but government officials confirmed that they did not officially support the initiative of the for-profit organisation. “The campaign is not backed by any government agency, though we feel it is good and in the interest of the tourism industry as a whole to promote the Taj Mahal,” declared Sudhir Kumar, the Agra chief of the Indian government’s tourism department, to the Indo-Asian News Service.

India is not the only country trying to get a monument elected. Brazil’s soccer team for example, urged Brazilians to vote for Christ Redeemer, the statue in Rio de Janeiro.

Criticism on methods

The campaign started in September 1999 with a website by Swiss businessman Bernard Weber. One year later, one million votes had already been cast, and today the total number of internet, text message and telephone votes has surpassed 50 million -possibly the largest global poll ever.

Earlier on in the elections, promotional campaigns have been able to severely influence the top seven. An e-mail chain letter in Turkey caused the nation to set the voting record in February 2002. After the site had been noticed in China, the country took the lead in weeks, according to the Foundation website.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in a press release on July 20 reaffirmed that it has no link with the initiative, which it says would reflect “only the opinions of those with access to the internet”. The Foundation ‘Campaign Milestones page’ however claims that “more than 25 percent of the world’s population is now aware of the N7W campaign” after the media attention around the time the final round began on January 1, 2006. UNESCO also criticized the project’s lack of scientific foundation, when compared to its own World Heritage Sites selection method.

The candidates

Originally the Pyramids of Giza had to compete against the others in the election, but after criticism in Egypt, they were removed from the election list and made an honorary candidate. The 20 other candidates are:

Sister links

  • Wikipedia-logo-v2.svg New Seven Wonders of the World

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March 21, 2006

Protesters mark 3rd anniversary of Iraq invasion

Protesters mark 3rd anniversary of Iraq invasion

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Thousands of people around the world took to the streets in a “Global Day of Action” to mark the third anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq. The weekend rallies and demonstrations drew smaller crowds than earlier anti-war demonstrations, when millions gathered in 2003 and 2004. US President George W. Bush, with dwindling public support for the war, marked the occasion with a speech, outlining his commitment to democracy in the region.

In the U.S.A.

Anti War protest poster, Portland, Oregon, USA

Tens of thousands of protesters gathered this weekend across the United States to protest what they say is the continuing occupation of Iraq. Protestors called for accountability from the current administration. According to U.S. group, United for Peace and Justice, over 500 cities planned protests in all 50 U.S. states.

In Portland Oregon, about 10,000 anti-war protesters took almost an hour to pass through downtown streets on Sunday 19th March. Some carried signs reading: “Impeach the Evildoer.” On Saturday, more than 7,000 people marched through downtown Chicago. About 200 people gathered Sunday at Chalmette National Cemetery to protest the military conflict overseas. They say the war had hurt the country’s ability to help New Orleans recover from hurricane disaster. Around 20 demonstrators were arrested in Washington, DC. About 200 joined a march Sunday along New York’s Fifth Avenue.

In Toronto, Canada some 1,000 protesters converged opposite the U.S. consulate. In Ottawa, dozens of demonstrators gathered two blocks from Parliament Hill and later at the National Gallery to protest the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Several hundred protesters marched through downtown Halifax. Protests in Montreal and Vancouver also attracted hundreds.

In Seoul, 1,000 people demonstrated – urging the South Korean government to bring their troops home. South Korea has 3,200 troops in northern Iraq – the largest contingent of foreign troops after the US and Britain. In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, about 600 people protested peacefully – in contrast to the 2005 gathering when police fired on demonstrators with water cannons. In Tokyo, about 800 demonstrators took to the streets, after some 2000 protested the day earlier.

About 1,000 protesters gathered near New York’s Times Square at a rally where speakers denounced the Bush administration and the continuing US troop presence in Iraq. The demonstrations were organised by many diverse groups.

Global Action

Portland, Oregon: 10,000 people protested against the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, March 19, 2006

Many more thousands also gathered in cities around the globe, including in the Iraqi cities of Basra and Baghdad. In Rome tens of thousands took to the streets, with signs: “Stop the war in Iraq” and “No to the war for oil.” Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a supporter of US President George W. Bush, sent nearly 3,000 Italian soldiers to Iraq despite the objections of a majority of Italians.

In London, police estimated a crowd of at least 15,000 showed up for the anti-war march. The city’s Mayor Ken Livingstone made an appearance at the event in Trafalgar Square which peace groups had organised to demand the immediate withdrawal of 8,000 British troops, the second largest military contingent after the United States in Iraq.

A turnout of several thousand people was reported in Denmark, Greece, Spain and Turkey. In Athens, nearly 2,000 protesters marched to the US embassy, led by Palestinian immigrants who chanted anti-American slogans, “Get the imperialists out of Iraq and Afghanistan” and “Bush is terrorist Number One”. Protests were also held outside US facilities at Souda military base on the island of Crete and in Greece’s second city of Salonika.

Demonstrators in Istanbul, led by leftist and Islamist groups, called for the American troops to pull out of Iraq with banners saying “United States, go home”. Communist party officials in Portugal organised an anti-war rally in Lisbon, claiming solidarity with “the fight of the Iraqi people”. In Copenhagen, some 3,000 people marched in the streets, organisers and police said, with banners reading “Bring back the troops now”. Demonstrators rallied outside the US embassy before marching on to the British embassy. Police said one person was arrested.

Peace activists staged a peaceful march in Geneva where one of the anti-war organisers said that “there is even less legitimacy to the American presence in Iraq today than there was three years ago”. In Stockholm where a few hundred people braved the cold and falling hail to gather at an outdoor rally in the Swedish capital, the mother of a British soldier killed in Iraq took the stage, putting the blame on the US and British leaders. In Barcelona, Spain, 2,000 people – according to police – joined a march protesting the war.

Australia

Anti War rally. Perth, Western Australia

Anti War Protest in Sydney, Australia

In Australia actions drew around 1,000 people in both Sydney and Melbourne demonstrated, with smaller rallies in other cities. Reports in Perth indicate between 500 and 1000 people took part in a demonstration.

The government still has over 1,300 troops on duty in and around Iraq. In February, Prime minister John Howard announced an additional 450 ADF troops will be sent to Iraq, despite other countries withdrawing numbers. Mr Howard justified the reversal of policy as being in the “broader interests of democracy in the Middle East”.

Australia’s oppostion Defence Spokesman Robert McClelland said it’s a “question of resources”. For instance, we’ve spent $1.2 billion on the war in Iraq to date, and that’s more than we spend each year on the entire Australian Federal Police budget,” he said. “Australian people are very concerned that we’re going to be sucked along into a civil war situation in Iraq.”

“The truckloads of tortured, mutilated bodies, smashed infrastructure and cost of the Iraq war now approaching one trillion Australian dollars are outcomes of the Prime Minister’s decision to back President Bush’s invasion 3 years ago,” Greens Leader Bob Brown said.

A Hawker Britton opinion poll suggests that almost two thirds of Australians want ADF troops to leave Iraq within the next couple months. Last week, visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was heckled by campaigners in Sydney, who accused her of “war crimes” and having “blood on her hands”.

US President maintains “reason for hope”

President George W. Bush addresses his remarks on the global war on terror Cleveland, Ohio, Monday, March 20, 2006. White House by Paul Morse

President Bush marked the third anniversary of the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom with a speech given in Cleveland, Ohio. Elaborating on the effort to build democracy in Iraq Mr Bush said, “We are implementing a strategy that will lead to victory… the United States will not abandon Iraq,” he said. “Americans have never retreated in the face of thugs and assassins, and we will not begin now.”

According to Bloomberg, President Bush is giving a series of speeches aimed at “rallying Americans behind his policies.” The U.S. has 133,000 troops in Iraq. U.S. military deaths in Iraq have surpassed 2,300. Public support for the war is falling and the cost of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan rising to $9.8 billion a month.

The President told the audience: “in the face of continued reports about killings and reprisals” he could “understand how some Americans have had their confidence shaken,” he said. “Others look at the violence they see each night on their television screens, and they wonder how I can remain so optimistic about the prospects of success in Iraq. They wonder what I see that they don’t.” He alluded to the northern Iraqi city, Tal Afar. He said the city “was once a key base of operations for al Qaeda and is today a free city that gives reason for hope for a free Iraq.”

Much of downtown Cleveland where Mr Bush spoke was barricaded off by Police. About 100 anti-war protesters chanted for the president to leave. The group held signs with peace messages and beat drums.

Four polls published last week put Bush’s approval ratings at an all-time low – somewhere between 33 and 36 per cent. A CNN/Gallup poll has his approval rating at 36 per cent. The Pew Centre’s poll put approval at 33 – the lowest rating of his presidency.

U.S. Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld wrote in the Washington Post on Monday, arguing the Iraqi insurgency was failing. He wrote: “Turning our backs on post-war Iraq today would be the modern equivalent of handing post-war Germany back to the Nazis.” Vice President Dick Cheney also “remains optimistic about the outcome of the US involvement.”

Iraq Conflict continues

Three years on, with 2,300 Americans killed, 17,000 troops injured, somewhere between 30,000 and 100,000 Iraqis killed and the onset of “civil war,” the US occupation of Iraq costs $200 million each day.

Meanwhile the conflict continues in Iraq. On Tuesday around 100 Iraqi insurgent fighters, armed with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, stormed a jail near Baghdad, killing at least 17 policemen. Authorities said all 33 prisoners were freed and 10 attackers were killed. After burning the police station, the group detonated roadside bombs as they fled. At least 13 policemen and civilians and 15 gunmen were wounded in the attack.

A recent wave of violence has left more than 1,000 Iraqis dead since the bombing last month of a Shiite Muslim shrine.

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January 29, 2006

Rare snow storm in Portugal

Filed under: Archived,Environment,Europe,Lisbon,Portugal,Weather — admin @ 5:00 am

Rare snow storm in Portugal – Wikinews, the free news source

Rare snow storm in Portugal

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

Today an uncommon snow storm covered much of Portugal. Apart from mountainous regions, snow is usually a rare vision in this south European country because flat terrain and a Mediterranean climate. However, January 2006 saw a cold wave sweeping across Europe, and since early morning snow fell in seaside towns like Figueira da Foz, in central Portugal, and the storm reached record south locations such as Algarve.

Lisbon, the Portuguese capital, received snow for the first time in 52 years. Other towns with a record snowfall were Leiria, Santarém, Évora, Setúbal, Portalegre, Sesimbra, Palmela, Fátima, Pombal, Abrantes, Torres Novas and Ourém.

Highways and roads were closed in much of central and south Portugal. In Montejunto, one hundred people were evacuated from their vehicles. The storm caused electricity to be cut in Elvas and other parts of the Alentejo region. A number of car accidents and fallen trees were reported to have only resulted in minor injuries. In Lisbon, the city government demanded subway stations to remain open overnight, so that homeless people could find shelter.

At 1500 GMT, phone companies saw a record level of calls and text messages due to surprised people contacting and warning each other.

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December 11, 2004

Portuguese government resigns

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Portuguese government resigns – Wikinews, the free news source

Portuguese government resigns

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Saturday, December 11, 2004

LISBON – Portuguese Prime Minister Pedro Santana Lopes, along with his entire cabinet, resigned Saturday after President Jorge Sampaio dissolved the Western European nation’s parliament.

The resignations came after Sampaio warned the government that it would be “politically limited” in the run-up to elections scheduled on February 20. Santana Lopes’s Social Democrat Party is severely trailing the Socialists in public opinion polls, reports indicate.

After a slew of crises during Santana Lopes’s tenure, including poor credit ratings and accusations of media censorship, Sampaio dissolved the parliament on Friday in an attempt to restore credibility to the nation. He then scheduled new elections ahead of the ones already scheduled for 2006.

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December 6, 2004

E.C. President does not advise Portuguese referendum in light of current crisis

E.C. President does not advise Portuguese referendum in light of current crisis

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Monday, December 6, 2004

LISBON – The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Durão Barroso, said holding a referendum on acceding to the European Constitution in Portugal is inadvisable, in light of the current political crisis in that country.

“A political crisis is surely not the best moment to discuss the European Constitution”, Barroso said to the press outside a colloquium about European Identity in Lisbon.

The E.C. President refused to comment on the current situation in Portugal, but admitted to have been “surprised” by the Portuguese President’s decision to call for new elections, ending the government’s term a full year early.

Barroso was the former Prime Minister of the current Portuguese government and leader of the ruling PSD party. He stepped down to accept the nomination for President of the European Commission, favouring current Prime-Minister Pedro Santana Lopes as his successor.

The Portuguese President, Jorge Sampaio, announced his intention to dissolve the Parliament on Tuesday, November 30 and call for new elections. The decision is not yet final but should be settled no later than Friday, after the President has had an opportunity to consult political parties and others concerned. While it awaits the President’s decision, the Parliament will vote on the new State Budget for 2005 today, amid protests from the opposition.

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